I can spot a smoker or a sun worshipper a mile away… they always look older than they are from the free radical damage that’s been done to their skin. Maybe you thought beauty was only skin deep, but it’s not. A radiant, youthful-looking face is actually an inside job. It helps to drink fresh water, exercise regularly and eat healthy foods to get the nutrients which provide the building blocks of healthy skin. Your gut and liver enzymes (glutathione and catalase) must remove toxins and free radicals every second of every day… otherwise the junk inside your cells damages your skin.
I’ve tried various supplements over the years to keep my skin looking as good as it can. At 52, I know that some level of aging is inevitable, but it’s amazing what your face can look like if you use high-quality skin care products and neutralize free radicals before they age you! Here are some of my favorite skin-loving supplements:
Milk thistle. It’s a food, and also a liver-supporting supplement. Your liver processes everything that goes in your mouth, including alcohol, prescription medications, pesticides, preservatives, additives and artificial colors. Your liver detoxifies everything your body doesn’t need. When your liver falls behind on its job, poisons come out through your skin causing rashes and itchiness. You age faster. It’s like that episode of “I Love Lucy” where Lucy is struggling to keep up with the conveyor belt of chocolates coming down the line! (Avoid milk thistle if you’re allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds or daisies.)
Collagen. Collagen is a natural component of skin that declines as you age, resulting in thinner, less elastic, saggier skin. You can take collagen in supplement form—known as collagen hydrolysate—that’s derived from cows (so it’s not suitable for vegetarians).
Two 2014 studies found oral supplementation with collagen may improve skin elasticity and diminish wrinkles. It’s completely tasteless, so you can stir a dose (usually a teaspoon) of it into your morning coffee or tea. If you’re interested in my custom formula, it’s a pink collagen that is pink from the tart cherry extract and it’s one of my best-selling supplements ever!
Silica. This makes hot springs pretty and blue in color. Silica is a trace mineral that helps soothe psoriasis, eczema and rashes when applied topically. Taken internally, silica helps you make collagen naturally, strengthening your nails.
Vitamin E. You may think of rubbing vitamin E oil directly on your skin to prevent scars, but taken orally, vitamin E is a powerful cellular antioxidant, which means it gobbles up free radicals that could otherwise potentially damage your skin cells and lead to premature aging. All vitamin E isn’t created equal. Most companies make fake E, or they give you only one part (there are actually eight parts to vitamin E!). There is much more you need to hear about vitamin E before supplementing with it, but I want to get back to skin-loving supplements, so please take 2 minutes to read my previous blog, “The Truth About Natural Vitamin E.”
Zinc. It’s not just for your prostate health or for colds! When you take it orally, this mineral helps your skin repair itself. It also reduces skin inflammation and irritation, whether that’s associated with acne, pimples, or rashes. It also plays a role in managing the production and turnover of skin cells. When I worked in nursing homes with patients who had wounds related to diabetes, gangrenous areas, or decubitis ulcers, we always put them on low dose zinc, usually 10 to 15mg per day. But be careful with zinc, don’t take too much. Taking too much could cause a magnesium or calcium deficiency. Minerals have to be in balance for you to have good health. Just keep zinc in mind as part of your skin-loving supplement regime.
I wouldn’t say that everyone needs all of these, this is just a list of things that might be useful. As always, get your doctor’s blessings about adding new supplements to your protocol. Some of these things interact with medication, for example, avoid zinc if you already take ginkgo biloba, ibuprofen or warfarin because it slightly increases risk of bleeding.
How About A French Green Clay Mask?
You can do this at home, although a facial done at a spa is far more fun. You can make the mask at home, and either dab it on a pimple, or apply it to your whole face. It is drying, so make sure you have a moisturizer to apply afterwards.
- 1 tablespoon French green clay
- 4 drops each essential oil Chamomile and lavender (adjust #drops to desired scent)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Water, add enough to make a thick paste
Put this on a cleansed face avoiding the delicate eye area, leave it on for about 5 to 10 minutes, don’t let it dry to the point of it ‘cracking’ because it will basically suck all the moisture out of your face! It’s drying, it’s intended to help with oily skin, or to pull out toxins if you’re getting pimples, but leaving it on too long will dry your skin. You can rinse this off in the shower, or if you’re not planning on a shower, use a washcloth dipped in warm water and keep rinsing it off delicately, don’t rub. Finish your at-home facial with a toner, serum and moisturizer. Just FYI, this type of mask is awesome to apply to an itchy rash.
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Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.